Hulu Releases iPhone/iPad App; Will Carry a Monthly Charge.

Hulu has released their official iPhone app Hulu Plus. It will feature shows and episodes currently unavailable on the website. The app is free to use, as a preview, but will cost $10 a month in the future.

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As are many of my fellow app enthusiasts, I am a frequent Hulu user. Shows I missed, didn’t record or haven’t seen yet all point me to the same place, the Hulu website. Needless to say, when I heard of the release of a Hulu app, I was enthusiastic. My excitement slowly turned to disappointment as I discovered further details about the release.

When I downloaded the app on iTunes and attempted to install it to my 2nd Generation device, I quickly came to the realization that the Hulu app only works on the newer devices such as the iPhone 4, 3GS, and 3rd Generation iPod Touch, which is starting to become a trend ever since the release of iOS4.

Hulu Plus does contain an improvement over the free, streaming website – availability. Unlike the free website service, which offers a handful of recent episodes of many TV shows, Hulu Plus offers full seasons for almost all of those shows. Along with the addition of older episodes, the app brings back individual seasons and complete collections of shows like X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as numerous anime shows.

New episodes and features are not the only things that Hulu Plus brings, it also introduces a monthly fee of $9.99, a first for Hulu. The app has already taken off and has been downloaded by thousands of users- most reviews seem to express a negative  response to the app purely because of the price of the service, claiming they will never pay for shows with commercials.

The fee does not bother me- Hulu has expanded greatly, offering relatively recent movies (for a free service) and a ton of content in general, and further addition to that service is worth the fee, in my opinion. Given the amount of new shows that Hulu offers, commercials also do not bother me, it costs money to provide such a wealth of new content. What does bother me is the lack of backward compatibility. I have come to believe that if a device (or a computer) can stream YouTube, it can also stream Hulu. My device can stream YouTube, so where is MY Hulu app?!

Hulu Plus is available on the AppStore now, free to download and use until the eventual $9.99 monthly fee kicks in. It is compatible with iPhone 4, 3GS, 3rd Generation iPod Touch, and will even stream 720p HD content to the iPad.

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  • Glenn

    man I would be all over this IIIIIFFFFF there were no ads in the PAID version.. Serious turn off! I was so excited but I’m not paying premium for that on a mobile device..

  • Gene

    Yeah, it seems a bit unfair, but the people that make these shows need to be payed. I take some comfort in knowing that at least there will be more content for the paid service, and it seems that the service also extends to the web-based version and any streaming device.

    I do think that Hulu should also release a free-of-monthly-charge version that is more like what is offered on the website now, so that users can make a comparative decision. Or perhaps simply reduce the per-month cost of the service, but I don’t see that happening.